OSHA has issued a bulletin under its Temporary Worker Initiative to instruct staffing agencies and companies that hire temporary workers on their recordkeeping responsibilities. The agency’s Temporary Worker Initiative combines enforcement, outreach and training. It was launched because temporary workers were suffering serious or fatal injuries, many during their first days on the job. The bulletin is the first in a series of guidance documents intended to raise awareness about OSHA compliance requirements regarding temporary workers. OSHA’s 300 log is used to record injuries and illnesses. In most cases, the agency instructs the log should be completed by the host employer if an injury or illness occurs to a temporary worker. That is because OSHA believes recordkeeping duties fall to whoever supervises the temporary worker on a day-to-day basis and, in most cases, that is the host employer.
OSHA defines supervision as “the details, means, methods, and processes by which the work is to be accomplished.” It considers an employer to be performing day-to-day supervision when that employer controls conditions presenting potential hazards and directs the worker’s activities around those hazards.
OSHA also requires that information about injuries and illnesses be shared regularly. For instance, when a temporary worker sustains an injury known to the host employer, the information should be shared with the staffing agency and vice versa. Good communication allows both employers to focus on eliminating hazards and provide appropriate training to prevent future injuries, the agency said.
Regarding general safety and health responsibilities, OSHA believes both employers have duties when a staffing agency provides temporary workers to its client, the host employer. Accordingly, OSHA holds both responsible for determining the conditions of employment and for complying with the law to some degree.
The agency recommends both employers consider which workplace safety provisions they are in the best position to implement. Generally, staffing agencies can provide basic safety and health training and information about rights and responsibilities under the OSH Act. The host employer should train temporary workers on specific hazards they will encounter at the worksite and procedures for working safely.
OSHA stresses that every situation is different, though. Therefore, the two employers should coordinate their efforts and agree on safety responsibilities in a contract.